Did Shania Twain Lip-Sync Her Super Bowl Halftime Songs?

Wednesday, January 29th, 2003

I was practically certain that Shania was lip-syncing her Super Bowl performance, but Did Shania Twain Lip-Sync Her Super Bowl Halftime Songs? says otherwise:

ABC producers promised that the pop stars they recruited for this year’s Super Bowl halftime show would do their singing live — no lip-syncing allowed. But what about country star Shania Twain, who seemed to hop around the stage without missing a note?

Paul Liszewski, who produced the sound for the show, says Shania’s mic was hot and her vocals were live. (Other audio engineers who watched the broadcast agreed.) Twain’s accompaniment, however, was what’s called a “band in a box,” which means the back-up vocals and instrumentals we heard were prerecorded. So while the diva was belting out show-stoppers like “Man, I Feel Like a Woman,” her onstage drummer was thrashing away merely for effect.

I had, ahem, no doubt that we were getting live music from No Doubt and Sting, but I was wrong. Sort of:

During No Doubt and Sting’s halftime sets, we were also hearing live vocals and canned instrumentals.

But here’s the kicker. Shania did lip-sync at moments. Sort of:

For big events, even totally “live” bands have tapes standing by in case of emergency. If, say, Bono’s microphone had suddenly failed last year, an engineer in a broadcast truck equipped with an audio mixer would have quickly brought up the sound on a prerecorded version of Bono’s vocal track. If the person doing the blend did the job right, the audience would never even notice the glitch. (That explains the moment when Shania ran back to the stage after mingling with the crowd and didn’t appear to be singing, even though her vocals came through loud and clear. When Twain took too long getting back to the stage, the mixing engineer likely brought up the prerecorded vocal track, and then took it back down as Shania started to sing.)

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